Skip to content
Our Archives
Link copied to clipboard

Healthy Coburn eager for Flyers to start season

The scar around his left eye is still there as a reminder. But Braydon Coburn says the scar is all that remains from the shot that Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin deflected into his face in the second game of the Eastern Conference finals.

The scar around his left eye is still there as a reminder.

But Braydon Coburn says the scar is all that remains from the shot that Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin deflected into his face in the second game of the Eastern Conference finals.

"Everything is cleared up,'' Coburn said. "There is not a not a lot of byproduct from what happened.''

Nothing but a bad memory.

Coburn was unable to play for the rest of the series, and his loss was a huge blow to the Flyers. Last night, Coburn was back on defense in the Wachovia Center in the team's first preseason game of the new season, a 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils.

Mike Richards scored one goal, Steve Downie scored two, and Scottie Upshall added one late in the third into an empty net. Marty Biron was solid for two periods, stopping all 20 shots the Devils put on net.

Maxime Ouellet came in for the third period and gave up one goal on nine shots.

For Coburn and the rest of the veteran squad that dressed last night, the game was the first taste of what they hope will be a continuation of the way the team played at the end of last season, when it won two playoff rounds.

Coburn said he's been itching to get back to work since returning to the area a few weeks ago to start training with his teammates. The lanky, smooth-skating, 23-year-old isn't thinking about what he missed last spring but what he has to look forward to.

"That was last year and this is a fresh start for everybody," he said. "I think we're starting from a whole new perspective.''

During last season, Coburn grew as a player and his ice time increased. This year he figures to be a big part of the Flyers' top defensive pairings. "I look to improve my whole game,'' Coburn said. "I want to be steady every night and not have up-and-down games, have a great game every night.

"I've talked to the coaches and Eric Desjardins [player development coach] here in camp, and they've told me to just keep it simple.''

Coburn is going to have new faces on the blue line with him. In the offseason, the Flyers added Steve Eminger and Ossi Vaananen. Both figure to make the team. There are also prospects in camp with NHL dreams, including Luca Sbisa, the Flyers' first-round choice in the draft. The 18-year-old from Switzerland got his first taste of the NHL last night. And he wants more.

"I've had this dream since I was a little kid, to get into the NHL. And it's come true,'' he said. "It's just exhibition, but it's great for young guys like me.''

Sbisa has to be considered a longshot to make the Flyers, but he's not about to cash it in, not yet.

"The coaches said that everybody has a chance to make the team so I'll do my best to make the team,'' he said. "I know that's going to be hard, but I'm just going to do my best and see what happens. If they send me back to juniors, I'll do my best to gain more experience and then we'll see.''

Coach John Stevens is a realist, but at this early stage in camp, he likes the fact that Sbisa has hope.

"He's been impressive for a young player,'' Stevens said. "The first thing you notice is his fitness level. For a young player, it takes a few years to get to where he's at.

"You get a chance to watch him play, he sees the ice very well, he defends well and he's got a lot of calm composure. I didn't know much about him before but he's been impressive.

"I'm glad to hear that he does want to make it. If he's got his sights set on making our team, that's the attitude he should have.'' *

Published